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  • Christopher G. Moore

Organized crime Chinese style

Culture and history plays a big factor in way crime is organized. For those who get their organized crime information from the Godfather or the Sopranos, the image emerges of family based crime bosses rule over tight-knit families with swear an oath of secrecy as they go about their daily routine of extortion, drug-dealing, prostitution pedaling, hijacking, and gambling operations. As far as I can determine, know one has ever analyzed American organized crime along the Red state and Blue state political divide.

In China, the Hung societies which flourished during the Ching dynasty, in the South of China – the geographic area which supplied most of the immigrants to North America –were a secret society. Hung translates as “Brave” though the short hand expression was Red societies. In the North of China a rival secret society called the Ching societies were known as the Green societies. Local chapters existed not unlike Starbucks. Society members in the best tradition of Tony Soprano swore an oath of loyalty.

The societies were much more than an association of gangsters. They ran schools. They looked after widows and orphans of members. Each local lodge had a lot of freedom to choose its own officers. They had their own system of justice and punishment. Also they had private armies divided in fighting sections of 10 to 50 men. They recruited beyond the immediate family of the members. But each member was considered a “brother” and part of “the family.” The lodges were subdivided into departments and division, each with a leader.

What Tony Soprano’s organization lacked was “the Incense Master.”

The history of these societies and Triads show a pattern of organization and leadership that would have been easily adapted to communist communes. Some brothers are “Green” and some brothers are “Red”.

For an illuminating article on the structure and organization of a Hung Society Branch: http://www.capital.net/~phuston/hung.html

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